Song Ceremonies

Erin Beloved Cover Hands in Prayer

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For 40,000 years, people all over the world have been using sound to facilitate healing. Because sound is such a subtle energy, it can permeate deeply into the many layers of a person’s being. It can create harmony, provide incredible nourishment, and catalyze huge shifts on all levels.

Since ancient times, and throughout the ages, people and cultures around the globe have recognized the healing power of sound.  And modern science is now validating this wisdom of the ancients, showing that the physical world is actually made of vibrating energy.  In other words, we are vibrational beings.  Just as sound is vibration.

Dr. Leonard Horowitz of Harvard University has shown that sound can even affect a person’s DNA.  His studies showed that “frequency emissions spoken, or sung, exert powerful control over life, vibrating genes that influence total well-being and even evolution of the species.”

This rich tradition of sound healing is now being brought back to the forefront of alternative methods of healing.  Powerful and effective, it provides a pleasurable and simple way to easily restore balance.

As the great American prophet Edgar Cayce foresaw, “The medicine of the future is sound.” I am beyond excited to see the unfoldment of these modern discoveries in this ancient realm of sound healing.  In my experience as a sound healing practitioner, I have experienced this sacred art form as nothing less than miraculous.

And I feel so blessed to continually delve deeper and deeper into this incredible work. In my sound healing practice, I faciliate Song Ceremonies for people.

What is a Song Ceremony?

A Song Ceremony is a ceremony in which I sing a song to you that is just for you…
a song that is spontaneously created specifically for your healing, your nourishment,
and your well-being on all levels.

Click here to see.

Where Will We Meet?

We can get together to have a session in person if we are in the same geographical area. If not, we can do the session via Skype or phone.

What Happens Afterwards?

After our session I will e-mail you an mp3 of your song so that you can listen to it anytime you want to.  Many people have told me that they have continued to receive great benefits by listening to the song again and again over time.

What is the Cost?

$108.

(Please note that I am also open to trades and/or working on a sliding scale as appropriate/necessary.)

For further information, click here.  And/or to schedule a session, please email me at erinpillman@gmail.com

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India: The Finale

I’m writing to you from a coffee shop in my hometown of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, looking up every so often to watch the snow fall.  It has been three weeks since I returned to the States from India, and to say that I am still adjusting would be an understatement.

There are a million thoughts running through my mind every moment.  Realizations, insights, clarity in a thousand forms.  And also many questions.  So much is still unknown, so much yet to be seen.  The story continues to unfold, and even though I can’t know what will happen, I can do my best to be present for the journey and to surrender to it.

Right now I am in the process of taking care of lots of practicalities, organizing things, writing a lot, playing my guitar, singing, spending time with my mom, and enjoying Lake Michigan.  I have been walking on the beach, gazing out at her iridescent waters, and watching wave, after wave, after wave return to shore.  It’s so magical to watch as countless sparkling snowflakes fall into her waters, and I am thanking her for all that she has given to me so selflessly throughout my life, from childhood to present day.

I have been feeling extremely sensitive and tender, and also stronger, more fearless, and more capable than ever before.  Unstoppable, even.  And the lucidity of what I am seeing, hearing, and experiencing is so stunningly clear, it’s as if the barrier to the world around me has become so transparent that it’s almost non-existent.  I love feeling so fully awake to my life.

I’m remembering a lot of things.  I’m writing about them.  I’m piecing together the parts of my life that have created who I am now, this woman who is sitting here in this coffee shop, writing this post.  I’m noticing the patterns, the characters, the storyline, and the unfathomable, miraculous interconnectedness of it all.  And through this process, I’m integrating my past and preparing myself on all levels so that I can move into this next chapter in the best way possible.

Going back to the beginning of my India story, I remind myself that this journey began in November when I saw Amma in Detroit.

I smile in amazement as I recall the blissful delight on her face when I handed her a piece of paper asking her to remove any vasanas (negative tendencies) that were blocking my music and abundance.  And I can still feel the warmth and the love of her divine embrace.  I look back with absolute AWE to recall how in that moment I had no idea that just one month later I would be flying across the world, carried on the wings of ten thousand angels, to the magical land of INDIA.  I received SO much love and support from friends and family around the world, still so much more than I can comprehend as I sit here writing this.

I embarked upon a pilgrimage, and this symbolic space that I stepped into has changed everything.  I can feel the potency of all that happened there, and I can see the profound transformation that has occurred.

As I look back through what I experienced in India, it’s like looking through a once blurry lens that has become clearer now that I’m back in the U.S. and can better see the wholeness of it.  I was given an incredible opportunity to purify myself in order to prepare for this next chapter, in which I share my love with the world through my music.

The Universe gives us very specific experiences so that we can release old beliefs, stored emotions, and other energies that are not for our highest good and evolution.  And as I look back at my two months in India, I can see very clearly how many of the situations that Nature created for me were truly for this very purpose.  Of course, I still don’t understand it all, but at least I can see some of the symbols and lessons, and have a bit more clarity around what I experienced.

Because all of this happened immediately after I asked Amma to remove my vasanas, it’s clear to me that this is exactly what she has done.  And so my music and abundance are now flowing freely.  I am experiencing this in many different ways.  I can feel the difference when I play the guitar, and hear the difference when I sing.  I feel lighter and freer, and my trust is much stronger.

It’s clear that this story is now about MUSIC, and it’s about WEALTH.  And when I say wealth, I truly mean wealth on all levels.

I am ready to experience the deep fulfillment of living my dharma 100%, co-creating and sharing with the world amazing music that inspires, uplifts, and empowers people.

And I am also ready to experience unbounded material wealth.  I am ready to fly freely about this gorgeous planet, exploring and delighting in her magical lands, her delicious foods, and her diverse cultures and peoples.  I am ready to be a bountiful, generous channel of overflowing wealth and abundance.  I am ready to have the financial resources to be able to give generously to the people and causes that I want to support in this way.  And I am excited to empower people to live their dreams by financially supporting their entrepreneurial, artistic, and other creative projects.  I am ready for all of this, and so much more.

Over the course of the past nine months, I have been seeing a lot of signs and experiencing a lot of synchronicities that are pointing VERY strongly to Los Angeles (specifically Venice and Santa Monica) and also possibly to Maui.  It looks like Los Angeles will be the setting for this next chapter, and I am so excited!!!  I’m looking forward to connecting with the right producer, musicians, recording studio, and so forth, and also to being near the beach and living a very healthy lifestyle with delicious food, yoga, and so forth.

So, back to India…there is still so much more that I want to share with you about my time in the Motherland.  I want to tell you everything!  I want to tell you about all of the warm and generous people whom I encountered, and share with you all of the ways in which my life has been SO profoundly affected by all that I learned and experienced there.  And yet, I’m quite aware that all I can do is express in words as best I can some of this, and trust that it is enough.

So let’s go back a few weeks to when I first returned to the U.S. in complete BLISS.  I had an incredible 48-hour journey back to the States, which included a 14-hour layover in Frankfurt, a most blessed experience.  When I saw that my layover was going to be in Germany, I knew there was a huge significance to this, as my ancestry is over 50% German, and I had not yet stepped foot on German soil.  I had just spent two months connecting with the roots of many aspects of my spiritual life, and now here was a chance to connect with the roots of my family lineage the day before my 31st birthday.

I arrived in Frankfurt in the evening, found a Christian chapel in the airport, laid out my yoga mat, practiced some asanas, and then curled up under a blanket and slept for a few hours.  I smiled in acknowledgement of this connection with my Christian upbringing.

The next morning, I woke up very early, practiced a few asanas, packed up my bags, and headed outside.  I found a bit of lawn right outside airport, and when I set foot on this patch of green grass I fell to my knees, weeping.  I kissed the cold, wet Earth and could suddenly feel my ancestors’ presence very strongly.  I could see them smiling and hear them clapping in deep, sincere approval.  They were communicating very clearly to me how incredibly proud of me they are, and letting me know that they are in full support of me in every moment.

It was truly an extraordinary experience, and reminded me of the night at the Neem Karoli Baba ashram in Vrindavan when I had a similar experience.  That night I got to see and feel the infinite love and support of some of the great mahatmas who are here with me in a similar way.

After awhile, I stood up and went over to meet a few of the gorgeous nearby trees.  After some hugs and more tears, I headed back into the airport to board the next leg of my flight, which took me to O’Hare in Chicago, through customs, and then onto another flight to Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

In Cedar Rapids, my darling friend Bea met me at the airport and drove me through the snowy cornfields of Iowa, to Fairfield.  By the time we arrived at my friend Jennifer’s house, where my car was parked, it was getting late and I was beyond exhausted.  At this point, I had been traveling for two full days, and was absolutely delirious.  I literally felt like I was floating about three inches above the ground.

And when I got into my car and stepped on the gas, it didn’t move because it was sitting in too much snow.  So we went into the house to find Jennifer and her husband Doug, who helped push the car out of the snow.  And off I went to my friend Eric’s house, where I took perhaps the most satisfying shower of my entire life and collapsed into a deep sleep.

When I awoke the next day, I was amazed to be waking up in cold, snowy Fairfield, and to realize that it was my birthday!  The entire day was absolutely incredible…so full of joy, love, friends, family, stories, delicious food, yoga, a walk around the reservoir in the sunshine, and a thousand other miracles large and small.

This is what I posted on Facebook the following morning, which sums it up well:

Dearest Family & Friends ~ THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOVE!!!!!! So many GORGEOUS birthday blessings ~ I feel SO unbelievably blessed by all of you ~ my cup runneth over, oh my GOODNESS!!!!!! ♥

I am so happy to be back in the U.S… I flew from India on Thursday afternoon and Mother India sent me off in the most BLISSFUL way I could have ever imagined. I made it back to Fairfield on Friday night, the eve of my 31st birthday. My birthday yesterday was filled with SO MUCH love and bliss ~ it is wonderful beyond wonderful to be in Fairfield surrounded by so many loved ones, celebrating life and feeling so full and grateful and blessed and excited about EVERYTHING that lies before me. It felt amazing to begin this new post-India chapter in such a beautiful, potent way. All good things are happening, and I feel SO happy to be here on this glorious planet with all of YOU!!!!! 

I have never felt so deeply at home here on Earth ~ everywhere I am, here I am, and here is home, and I am home, and I am grateful to be here, wherever here may be because this is where my heart is.

Thank you SO MUCH for all of your love and prayers and for your continual support on so many levels throughout this life journey ~ thank you for being here and for co-creating a more and more beautiful world with me. 

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  ♥ ♥ ♥

So now, going back in time even a bit further, I want to tell you about my last two days in India.  I had originally planned to fly back to the States on Monday night (February 25th).  I was listed to fly standby and thought there’d be no problem getting on the flight, but the plane filled up without me, and so it became clear that Mother India wasn’t finished with me quite yet.

That night was a little rough, even though of course (on some level) I knew that Nature was orchestrating everything perfectly as always.  But I had felt SO excited to begin my journey back to the States that when I didn’t get on the flight it felt as if I had hit a brick wall, face first, running at top speed.  And it was late at night, and there were men with guns and a security policy that was very foreign to me.  In short, I wasn’t sure they were going to let me leave the Delhi airport!

Not a fun experience.  But eventually I got to leave, and when I made it out to the car with all my things, the driver asked me what had happened.  Slightly flustered and not sure what to make of it all, I told him the whole story.  He looked at me with a huge smile on his beautiful Indian face and (in his delightful Indian accent) said to me with such love, “This is not a problem…this is not a problem…there is no problem!”

As soon as he said it, I softened, melted.  He was right.  “This is not a problem,” his words echoed through my mind, this time in my own voice.  Wow.  Brilliant.  Here was gift number one of the MANY that Mother India had in store for me now that I was going to be staying a bit longer.

India has a very different definition of the word “problem” than we do in the West, and I really value this shift this has occurred in my perception.  After all, who am I to question Nature’s perfect wisdom and divine timing?

When I awoke the next morning, I booked a “real” flight leaving on Thursday afternoon, which meant that I would have two more full days in Delhi before I would (really this time!) fly back to the States.

And because of the way things had unfolded, these last two days in India became “bonus days.”  Because I had already expected to be on my way back to the U.S., over the course of these next two days every sip of coconut water, every photo, every interaction, and every last sight of India was EXTRA.  Positively overflowing with blessings, these two days turned out to be the most extraordinary, glorious gift I could have ever dreamed of receiving from Mother India before I said goodbye to her for now.

I discovered a gem of a temple, and also spent quite a bit of time in the gorgeous, pristine, flower-filled temple yard behind it.  There were children running and laughing, women enjoying each other’s company, old men playing cards, sun shining, temple bells ringing, palm trees beaming…it was glorious.

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And on Wednesday, my last full day in Delhi, I visited a temple called Swaminarayan Akshardham, which was SUCH an AMAZING experience.  Every moment felt like a complete affirmation of my soul, and the perfect ending to my pilgrimage.

Akshardham from Wikipedia

Akshardham Overview

This visit to Akshardham was QUITE the multi-faceted experience.  On the temple grounds are various buildings, gardens, and a large fountain in the center, in addition to the actual temple.  The complex is enormous and also extremely beautiful.  The breeze was warm and the sun was shining as I stood in line waiting to enter the first exhibition, The Hall of Values.  This elaborate exhibit consists of about ten different rooms filled with (very!) lifelike robotic beings and dioramas depicting various teaching stories from Swaminarayan’s life.  All of this was designed to illustrate his beautiful message about the importance of peace, harmony, humility, service to others, and devotion to God.

After this, they ushered all of us into a hall filled with gorgeous quotes about India.  One that I particularly loved was this:

“If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India.”

~ Romain Rolland (French scholar)

At the end of the hall was the entrance to the boat ride, reminiscent of something one would experience at Disney World!  With more figures, sets, and scenes on either side of the water through which our peacock-shaped boat was journeying, we were taken on a most delightful journey through 10,000 years of India’s extremely rich culture and history.  So many great beings have come from India.  So many mahatmas, saints, yogis, sadhus… and also great musicians, artists, political leaders, scientists, doctors, astrologers, and so forth.  It’s really quite mind-blowing to realize what a great nation India is, and how rich is her ancient knowledge and wisdom, much of which comes directly from the Vedas (holy texts of India).

And THEN we were directed into a huge IMAX theater where we watched a film called “Neelkanth Yatra,” recounting the seven-year pilgrimage that Swaminarayan made as a young boy and teenager.  It was SO incredibly beautiful, and when the film ended I sat there in tears.  It felt like such an affirmation to me because certain aspects of his life and journey resonated so deeply with my own.

After this, I walked outside and heard the most gorgeous music playing.  Moments later, I saw that while I had been inside the movie theater, thousands of people had gathered for that evening’s musical fountain show.  (One man that I spoke with afterwards estimated that there had been between 6,000 and 7,000 people there that night.)

Delightedly, I found a place to sit in the massive multi-layered seating area surrounding the fountain, overlooking the temple, which was just so stunningly gorgeous all lit up against the night sky.  And the Delhi air was absolutely perfect that night.  It felt so fresh and soft and warm as it kissed my face and gently played with the white scarf I was wearing around my head.

The feeling in the air was incredible.  As I sat there looking around at the thousands of beautiful Indian faces, women in brightly colored saris, and children playing, I found myself in tears.  What a majestic, regal, rich land.  I was so deeply touched by the beauty, the deep spiritual potency, the reverence, and the richness of it all.

And my heart was so FULL with gratitude for all that Mother India had given to me.  My entire body was lit up with the JOY of being ALIVE!  Suddenly I could see and feel the utter perfection of everything that I had experienced during my time there, and the perfection of everything, everywhere, always.
And so I wept with joy as I clapped along with the aarti song that was playing loudly and beautifully over the loudspeaker, watching the pujari as he circled the plate of fire around and around through the air before the enormous bronze murthi of Neelkanth.

After the aarti was the musical fountain show, which was absolutely magical.  While gorgeous Indian classical music played over the loudspeaker, the fountain danced.  In one particularly enchanting moment, thin columns of water went up into the air, and I watched in awe as the multitude of drops fell back into the pool, shimmering and sparkling like diamonds.  And all the while, the water was lit up with lights that continually changed colors throughout the show.  It was just extraordinary, and it felt like Mother India’s parting gift to me, a magnificent display of the glory of Bharat, and a joyous celebration and culmination of the two months that I had spent upon her holy soils.

When the show ended, I sat there speechless, soaking in the profound joy and awe that I was feeling.  Eventually, I stood up and began to walk towards the temple, and as I did, I met an amazing Indian man named G.J. Patel.  He took me over to a beautiful golden statue of Swaminarayan, and another man handed me a copper vessel of water.  He told me to make a wish and then pour the water over the statue while continually repeating Swaminarayan’s name.  So I made my wish, and as I performed this beautiful ritual I was (again) in tears.  Then the man handed me a second vessel of water and said, “This one is for your family.”  This was just so, so touching that I began to cry even harder, and again repeated Swaminarayan’s name as I poured this water over the statue, in honor of my amazing family.

At this point I still hadn’t even been inside the actual temple yet.  So my new friend G.J. accompanied me as I walked toward the entrance.  And as we walked, he told me that the lake surrounding the temple is comprised of water from 151 different holy lakes and rivers that were visited by Swaminarayan during his lifetime.  And around the base of the exterior of the temple are 148 life-sized carved elephants, as well as gorgeous carvings that illustrate many stories from the Vedas.

I also learned that for five years, 7,000 artisan carvers and 3,000 volunteers worked to construct this massive (over 86,000 square foot) architectural masterpiece.  So intricately carved, so elaborate, so breathtakingly beautiful, the magnificence is way beyond words’ capacity to describe.  Only by seeing it can a person even begin to comprehend what 300 million hours of human effort, devoted to God, looks like.

After removing my shoes, I approached the temple.  I touched my fingers to the steps, and then to my forehead and heart, and walked up SO very reverently.

Many people have said that Akshardham is even more impressive than the Taj Mahal.  Having not yet visited the Taj Mahal, I am not able to compare them, but I can tell you that when I walked into this temple I was immediately filled with the powerful and holy presence of the space.  I inhaled deeply and walked forward toward the enormous golden murthi of a seated Swaminarayan.  The space above and all around his murthi was by far the most exquisite, elaborate space of sparkling divinity that I had ever seen.  It sparkled like ten million diamonds, and was filled with a most sublime feeling, transcending this mundane world and elevating my Spirit to the realm of the gods.  Light pinks, greens and blues, an incredible amount of gold, and far more detail than my mind could possibly comprehend, even if had I stood there for a thousand years.  Absolutely incredible.  I fell to my knees, forehead pressed to the floor, with my hands in prayer stretching out in front of me.

After some time, I stood up and began to walk around the temple.  All the while, I was in complete awe of the grandeur, amazed by the amount of work that must have gone into creating something so exquisite, and more befitting of the gods than other I had seen.

I walked around to each pair of murthis and thanked all of the gods and goddesses for everything.  Shiva and Parvati, Sita and Ram, Radha and Krishna, Lakshmi and Narayan, Hanuman, Ganesha…they all looked at me so knowingly, respectfully, and lovingly.  And I bowed with deep reverence to each one, hand pressed firmly to my heart, feeling the blessings of the divine presence of each and every one of them.  It was such a sweet farewell, and such perfect closure.

After leaving the temple, I stopped briefly to have some prasadam, and then found a taxi.  I was in a state of pure bliss as we drove across the Yamuna River and I watched the white and yellow lights along her banks shining and winking in the night air.

And as we drove across the city, I found myself wondering about many things.  What kind of man was this Swaminarayan that he had inspired his devotees to create this kind of splendor here upon the Earth?  And how can India be such a remarkably special land to birth such great saints, mahatmas, gurus, gods, and goddesses?  And how did I gain the good fortune to spend two months in this great land, walking in the footsteps of the gods?

I continued to wonder about these and many other things that night as I finished packing and drifted off to sleep.  And the next morning, I began my journey home.

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India is such a magical land.  The quality of consciousness is different.  The atmosphere is somehow thinner, lighter.  Even the plants and trees look different; they seem more fully awake and full of life than their counterparts in most other places.  It seems as though the veil that separates this realm from the next somehow almost doesn’t exist in India.

What an interesting place, this country where karma burns faster than anywhere else on the planet.  And how fascinating to experience a culture where the relative level of existence is so very secondary to the deeper realms.  India continually points us within, within, within, to our hearts, to the space of pure consciousness inside of us.  She does this in so many ways…through her incomprehensible chaos, her extreme austerity (in India, no matter how much money one has, there is always SOME austerity), her rivers, her multitude of temples and other holy places, her heart-breaking poverty, and also her awe-inspiring richness and glory.

Nearly everywhere I went I felt that spirituality was the main focus.  Even riding in a taxi with two wealthy Indian businessmen, I was not at all surprised when one of them asked the driver to stop at a temple.  Not at all surprised to see this man (dressed in a very nice business suit) jump out of the car, remove his shoes, ring the temple bell, and pay his respects to Lord Hanuman-ji.

And a few days later, I witnessed another beautiful illustration of this.  I was standing at the counter in a pharmacy, waiting for them to put together some herbal medicines for me, when a man wearing saffron robes walked in the door.  The man working immediately stopped what he was doing.  Without saying a word, he walked over to the man, bowed, and then bent down to touch his feet (a sign of reverence).

I can remember riding on the bus through South India, watching the small villages pass by as I stared out the window.  I remember seeing the crumbling buildings, and thinking that these people must be quite poor.  And then I would notice a gorgeous temple, brightly colored and beaming with divinity, amidst the otherwise desolate surroundings.  And I realized that it was only my perception that was impoverished.  Perhaps these people knew a kind of richness far beyond what I had ever known.

How ironic that when most people think of India they so frequently immediately think of the poverty.  There really is a lot of poverty in the material realm of existence, but on the deeper levels there is so much incredible, incredible wealth.  This richness and royalty transcends anything that I have seen in other places.  Never have I experienced a culture with such deep reverence for the divine, such humility, and such dignity.

I was completely amazed by the depth of the settledness and maturity that have been cultured in her people over thousands of years.  These incredibly kind-hearted, loving people welcomed me so warmly and cared for me so generously.  And in some ways, I felt very much at home in India because the consciousness felt very familiar to me, as if I remembered it from a time gone by.  And I’m missing it now that I’m back in the U.S.  In other ways though, India felt very, very strange and foreign to me.  As a Westerner, I am very much accustomed to my comforts, to so many little luxuries, many of which I didn’t even realize were luxuries until I went to India.

Reflecting on all of this, I can hardly even begin to describe the all of the mind-warping juxtapositions and all the ways that India twisted and turned and transformed my awareness.  For instance, there is such filth throughout so much of India on the physical level, and yet there is such purity in the minds and consciousness of the people.  I find it interesting how in the West we spend so much time keeping things clean, even sterile.  In India, you see it ALL.  And actually, this is a much more accurate reflection of our inner worlds.  There is urine and excrement on the sidewalks, right beside the beautiful parks filled with flowers and trees.  There are poverty-stricken people begging for food right outside such grand, majestic temples.  And there is the greatest contrast imaginable in the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings of India, just like in our inner worlds if we are willing to really pay attention.

There is so much more to share, but for now this is enough.  So I will leave you with this:

If I had to name just one thing that India taught me, it would be TRUST.  Nature is infinitely loving and supportive, and she always provides us with everything that we need in every moment.

Everything is always conspiring in our favor.  There is not a single ounce of creation that is not here to support us in realizing our dreams and waking up to the truth of who we really are.  We cannot, however, rely upon our (limited) perspectives to perceive this.  It takes great courage, faith, and trust.

You are blessed.  Remember this.  Every moment is an opportunity to trust, to surrender, to embrace life, and to give thanks for all that you have been given.  This life is a precious gift, and I feel unbelievably lucky to share it with you.

Thank you for being such an incredible a part of my journey.  Thank you for your courage, your wisdom, your support, and your love.

It has been an honor and a joy to share this experience with you.  And I look forward to continuing to share my heart with you through my words, through my music, and so much more.

I Love You Very Much.  God Bless You.

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Still in Delhi

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I am REALLY feeling ready to get back to the States.  I have been in Delhi for about a week now sorting out how I can get myself home as soon as possible.

Then a friend who works for an airline so generously offered to let me use a “buddy pass” which meant that I was “listed” to fly standby tonight, hypothetically arriving back in Iowa at the Cedar Rapids Airport on Tuesday morning.  So I went to the airport tonight and found out that flying standby is really not my favorite thing.   ; )

I went to the airport feeling SO excited to finally be headed home after this great big huge adventure here in India.  These past few days I have been feeling SO supremely grateful now that I am through the toughest part of this journey and am having all these realizations about the innumerable gifts and blessings of it all….feeling REALLY blissed out…so it kind of felt like I ran face first into a brick wall at top speed when at about 11 pm they informed me that the flight was full.  I turned and walked away from the counter feeling pretty disappointed.  I reluctantly called a driver to pick me up and bring me back to the Maharishi Ayurveda Hospital (way on the other side of the city) where I have been staying here in Delhi.

After about an hour, the driver called to let me know that he had arrived and so I started to walk through the door to meet him outside of the airport.  And I was quite shocked to be stopped by security.  They wouldn’t let me out of the airport!  After some less than optimal communication with various airport employees (including security guards carrying huge guns) I found out that they had to locate a United Airlines employee to escort me out of the airport.   After about 20 minutes a woman came and I was able to leave the airport.  The whole thing was pretty wild and the man at the Info. Desk informed me that “security in India is different.”

Honesty it was kind of an awful experience spending six hours in all doing all of this only to find myself right back at the Maharishi Hospital where I began before leaving for the airport this evening!  Of course, everything is always unfolding as it should, and surely this will all work out and I’ll get back to the States, but right now I’m feeling VERY tired and not sure how to get home.

It’s after 3 am and I’m looking at flights, which all cost a minimum of about $1,200 – $1,400 U.S. which is definitely out of my price range at the moment.  I knew they were going to be quite a bit, which is why I was looking for another option, but I really just don’t think that flying standby is going to be the way to go.  At the airport they said that tomorrow’s standby situation looks even worse that tonight’s, and I don’t have it in me to go through that again.  I just really want to have a proper flight because at this point because I’m SO ready to just get home.  It’s time!  I want to be back and rested SOON so I can celebrate my BIRTHDAY on Saturday with my loved ones in Fairfield and begin my new year in the best way possible!!!

Serendipitously, my friend David sent me this short video today which I watched just now in amazement.  YES, it’s time now for the “RETURN” part of this journey.

It’s after 4 am now, so I’m going to get some sleep, dreaming and praying for a miracle so that I can get home.  All love and prayers extremely grateful in this moment.

When I wrote to my friend Linda to tell her what was going on, she wrote back a lovely email which concluded, “Know that Nature is not going to abandon you at this stage. She’s orchestrated your life so magnificently until now, why should she stop?”  Surely this is true.

Thank you for being with me throughout this process.  I love you and I’ll see you soon ♥

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Synthesis

Kwan Yin Purple with Roses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So many realizations are flooding my consciousness right now.   I am in the process of integrating the multitude of lessons from my time here in India as I prepare to return to the U.S.

As it turns out, all of the health concerns that I have been dealing with are MUCH less serious than I had thought they were.  Feeling SO grateful, still SO humbled by all of this, I was crying tears of gratitude on my way back from the dentist’s office just now.

Looking at my teeth over the course of the past few weeks, it appeared as if the enamel on some of the front teeth was getting eaten away.  I even thought of writing a blog post called “India is Eating My Teeth” but then thought better of it.  Then about a week ago I noticed some spots on some of the back molars that looked like the beginning of cavities forming, and so (being so far from my dentist in the States right now) have been feeling quite stressed about this.

Then yesterday I met a warm, wonderful Irish woman named Eileen who is staying here at the clinic as well.   My friend Martyn told me about her because she is a dentist in England, and so he thought that she might be willing to take a look at my teeth.  She did take a look and immediately exclaimed in her gorgeous Irish accent, “Oh, what LOVELY teeth!!!”  Which was pretty much the best thing that I could have possibly heard in that moment, given how stressed out I have been feeling.  She said that actually the enamel was fine.  It was just some staining (which I’m guessing must have been due to the fact that I’m eating different foods than usual here in India) that was making it appear as if the enamel was worn out.

Oh. My. GOODNESS.  What a RELIEF!!!  She suggested that I still keep my dentist appointment and just have them clean the teeth.  She said that she really didn’t recommend having work done by a dentist that I don’t completely know and trust because one of the worst things that one can do for their teeth is to have some less than optimal work done…this can cause myriad problems later on.  So this felt like the best solution possible.  SO much better and simpler than going to Bangkok.

So today I went to a wonderful dentist, Dr. Taroon Giroti, who came well recommended by some Westerners living here in India, and he confirmed what Eileen had told me yesterday.  He polished them up, was so kind and gentle, and said that yes, the enamel on most of my teeth is a bit thin, but really my teeth look okay.  I have never felt such BLISS and THANKFULNESS in running my tongue over the smooth, healthy enamel of my teeth.  I will still go to my dentist back home and have him look at the molars, but Dr. Giroti said that it’s definitely not an emergency like I had thought that it was.

Also, I saw a dermatologist a couple of days ago at a REALLY nice hospital here in Delhi.  I had an incredibly positive experience, and was amazed when they charged me only 700 rupees for the consultation, which is the equivalent of about $14 U.S.  I showed him the rash, and he said that it’s nothing but a simple, innocent allergic reaction.  He prescribed Allegra and some allergy creams and said that it should likely be gone within a week.  Never have I been so grateful to just take some basic allopathic medicine.  It’s been a couple of days since I saw him, and it does seem to be getting better.  He said that the red spots all over my nose were actually mosquito bites.  This seemed a little odd because they are literally only on my nose, but they are going away now, so whatever they were, they are fading and I am glad.

So with all of this I am just feeling inexplicably relieved and grateful.  I have been talking with another American friend who has spent a lot of time in India and she said that never has she come to India and not completely gotten her ass kicked.  This country is like a cosmic washing machine, a place on Earth for intense karmic cleansing.  And reflecting on all the (seemingly unnecessary) negative emotions that I have been experiencing because of my teeth and my skin issues, I am again reminded of this principle of “unstressing” which seems to be the best possible explanation for why all of this unfolded as it did.  (You can click here read the post I wrote about unstresssing if you are interested.)

Radhanath Swami says, “We get suffering in life so that we become sober and listen to God’s message. All the sufferings are therefore worthwhile if we go through them in proper consciousness, because they will bring us closer to the goal of our life.”

And I ALSO realize that I have learned a GREAT lesson in not jumping to conclusions.  I became so overwhelmed with worry that I ended up getting way ahead of myself in my head about this situation. This is a perfect example of the “mistake of the intellect.”  According to The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians, this mistake occurs when “the intellect, drawn toward and influenced by material consciousness, loses connection with the wholeness of consciousness. This is when we stop being centered within ourselves.”

This is MAYA, the illusion in which we all dwell until reaching full enlightenment.  And even THEN, we still (most likely, as far as I can tell) will not have perfect, omnipotent perception like God does.  This whole world, this relative existence, is illusory, and my teeth were a brilliant metaphor for this.  From my limited (read: ignorant) perspective, my teeth looked to me as if something were very, very wrong.  And yet, this was not the truth.

This is not to say that sometimes there isn’t something that is actually wrong with someone’s teeth that needs to be corrected.  Rather, I am simply sharing this insight that I had about how limited our human perspectives are.  Only God truly knows the truth and IS the truth.  Only the deepest layer of existence, Brahman, is real.  And so we go through our lives coming to realize this more and more fully.  Nature presents us with countless situations and learning lessons that point us back toward the truth, back toward the Self, back to what’s real.  And this is God and God alone.

So back to the story of my teeth and my skin.  There is another important point that I must address here.  Quite a few friends and family members have been following my journey here in India, and many have reached out to me with great concern.  I feel so supported and loved, and appreciate everyone’s desires for my well-being, safety, and happiness.  And I am sorry if I have caused anxiety for anyone following my story.

At lunch I was talking with my friend Janet.  She asked how I was doing and I told her, “I’m feeling concerned about people being concerned about me.”  With a little laugh, she told me how funny that sounded to her, and she told me that actually, that is none of my business.  She said that what I’m doing is just being me, just being authentic, and that I mustn’t worry about people’s reactions to this.  And I felt the truth in her words.

My intention was (of course!) never to alarm or frighten anyone, but rather to share openly about my experience and thus share my journey with you.  In sharing so openly about my time here in India, I’m aware that some people have felt great concern for my well-being.  I have friends who literally cringe at some of the intimately personal things that I share about my life on Facebook and on my blog.  And sometimes I have wondered if I’m “over-sharing.”  Maybe I should keep these things to myself, rather than putting them out there for anyone and everyone to read about.  I remember hearing an interview with Lady Gaga where she said, “Always be private in public.”  These words have really stayed with me, and I have been contemplating them ever since I heard her speak them.  This is because she is an amazing woman whom I respect, and because this is so FAR from MY way of being in the world.

But what I have come to realize is that this is HER path.  Yes, some things must be kept private, of course!  And also, we all have our own unique paths and so each person has their own degree of comfortabilty and desire to share their story with others.  And yet, for my individual journey, I keep coming back to the same strong intuitions about why I feel compelled to share so freely.

With the advent of Facebook, blogs, and other social media platforms, we are all much more wrapped up in the stories and lives of many more people than ever before in human history (as far as we know).  And many (or most) people are using these social media platforms to paint the prettiest possible pictures of their lives.  Choosing the nicest, most flattering photos of themselves, their families and friends, and their travels…posting updates about the amazing experiences they are having…and so forth.  And this is great!  It’s WONDERFUL to share the good news, to focus on the parts that are most commonly accepted as beautiful, and to put forth the image of oneself that one chooses to portray.

Personally, I am compelled to share more of the wholeness and full spectrum of my experience.  Not that this means that I feel to share every last detail, and SURELY there are parts of my life that I would never broadcast to the whole world.  What this does mean is that I am inspired to post photos of my smiles as well as my tears, my triumphs as well as my tribulations, and my joys as well as my sorrows.  For various reasons, something in me loves to show people my weaknesses along with my strengths.  Again, this is not better nor worse than anything else, it’s just the way that I personally choose to express and share myself.

So why do I share all that I do?  What it really comes down to is this.  It simply feels like the thing to do. It feels right.  It feels dharmic.  I am compelled to share like this, and so I do.

And actually, as I have thought about it, I have come to feel that there is great value in this.   I have had the experience of reading through people’s Facebook posts and thinking, “God, am I the only one going through hell right now?  Am I the only one who isn’t just having an absolutely AMAZING time all the time?”  Of course, the rational part of me knows that this isn’t true.  I know that we ALL have our “stuff.”  But sometimes in the lower moments when there is less clarity, seeing all these happy, happy posts and seeing everyone else looking like they are doing great when I feel awful just isn’t as nourishing as talking with someone else who is also having a hard time, or who has also gone through a similar challenging situation.

This is not “misery loves company.”  This is simply part of the human experience.  As human beings, we share our stories, and by doing so we can experience some affirmation, consolation, and validation in knowing that we are not alone in experiencing ALL of this, the full spectrum of LIFE.

The other night at dinner I was talking about this with my new friend Guy who I met here at the clinic.  He was talking about how most people only really show the parts of themselves that they consider to be acceptable.  Their demons are there, too, of course.  The demons are on a leash, lurking in the shadows.  And there is a strong tendency for people to do just about anything in order to keep others from seeing these negative aspects of themselves.  But what if we were all a little more honest about how we are REALLY doing and how we are REALLY feeling?  Perhaps it would be a bit of a RELIEF for most people to feel like they could REALLY be themselves and be COMPLETELY accepted for the wholeness that they ARE.  Perhaps this kind of transparency could help to create more authentic, intimate interpersonal connections, and thus deeper enjoyment and fulfillment.

My friend Janet arrived here in India yesterday.  And so since it was the first time I’ve seen her since I left the States, she was asking me about my experience here.  I told her that there have been a lot of blessings and also a lot of challenges.  And right away, with a mischievous twinkle in her eye and a playful smile on her gorgeous face, she asked me, “So, which part wasn’t the blessings?”  Immediately I hit the palm of my hand on the table with great appreciation and delight.  Just like this, the shift in perception is given.  Suddenly we can see more clearly than we had been able to see just one moment before.  This is God.  This is grace.

There is more to come; there always is.  The river keeps flowing forward.  And only in the present moment can we experience the full value of life.  We must be brave.  We must be strong.  We must have the audacity to look life right in the face and fully accept things as they are.  This is not to say that we can’t work to shift and change things as we feel to, but right here and right now is what we have.  And radical acceptance is the key to freedom.

I know that I have a long way to go before I can truly say that I am living up to these words, but I do know that I am doing my best.  And I know that you are too.

I Love You… ♥

 

“Let the water settle and you will see moon and stars mirrored in your being.”

~ Rumi

 “A Journey makes us vulnerable, takes us from our more secure environments and commits us to the unknown. Perhaps this is why the journey has so often been our basic metaphor for life itself. Our life journey is a precarious pilgrimage, a passage through landscapes of promise and peril, a crossing from the darkness of the womb to the shadows of death. We travel in the hope that the light will not fail to guide us, that the star will not be lost, that the homecoming will be granted and Love not withheld.”

~ Thomas Merton

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Forward!!!

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“It’s just a crazy world, that’s all…it’s crazy…I don’t understand it…I don’t understand it, I’m just aware of it, that’s all…I guess what’s happening in other parts of the world has to come to your part of the world before we start to wake up…”

~ Ray LaMontagne

These words resonate so much with me right now with everything that I am going through. This life can feel like SUCH a crazy trip sometimes and I find myself just utterly bewildered by the whole thing. Of course, on some level I can recognize the divinity and perfection of it all…but sometimes it’s just plain confusing, impossible to make any sense of it.

So I do my best to surrender, but what about conscious free will?  What about being firm and decisive, continuing to move forward even when the path is so unclear?  What is the balance between “letting go and letting God” and actively engaging in this play?  Is there even any difference?  Maybe free will is just an illusion anyway because everything is actually God’s Will?  But perhaps we must pretend to have free will so that we stay strong and actively engaged?  Maybe I should stop thinking about all of this so much and just LIVE and EXPERIENCE life, focusing more on staying in motion, rather than continually seeking to understand it all?

Upon hearing Ray LaMontagne speak these words (quote above) in a video of his song, “Hold You in My Arms,” I had this realization that having just “met” the other hemisphere, there is a wholeness that is being realized inside of me.  It will take some time to integrate, but I feel like I am really beginning a brand new life now, post-India…this wholeness will inform me and be expressed through me in every way, especially through my music…SO exciting!!!

I’m still navigating this last bit of the journey here in India, still dealing with some challenges…but I’m feeling really grateful for all the blessings and intense purification that I have received here…and I’m also feeling REALLY excited to see what the next chapter holds in store for me…and for ALL of us as we move deeper into 2013!!!

So we must keep moving forward, forward, forward, trusting the process and knowing in our hearts that all is always, always WELL, that we are loved and cared for in every moment, and that the perfection of God is all that exists, now and forever.  Amen.

Namaste, Sweet Friends…I Love You!!!  ♥ ♥ ♥

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The Time Has Come

I am sitting in a car that is parked alongside the road.  The driver got out of the car to do something and doesn’t speak English well enough to communicate to me what is going on.  It’s a busy time here in Allahabad with a hundred million pilgrims from around the world coming and going from this sacred city, so the roads are packed with cars, rickshaws, buses, pedestrians, cows, dogs, and so on.  I spent last night in a tent so that I could be nearer the Kumbha Mela and to bathe in the Ganges this morning, which was one of the most auspicious bathing days.  So I’m waiting here, wondering where he went and when we’ll start moving again so I can get to the hotel where it’s warm and dry, where there is good food and a soft bed.  It’s cold and raining tonight, and I have been crying.

Emotionally exhausted, I am at the absolute limit of how much I can take and the time has officially come for me to leave India, and soon.  As soon as I get back to the hotel I will begin looking at plane tickets to Delhi to retrieve the things I have on storage there, and then to Bangkok because this is where I want to go to sort out all these health issues that I have been having here in India.  The time has come to get this straightened out so that I can get back to the U.S. and record my album.  I realized that even though I have an opportunity to record here in India, it’s time for me to go back to the States, so I will record there instead.  It’s time for deep, deep fulfillment and musical bliss.  It’s time for a break in this crazy intense karmic burn.  It’s time for the next step and the next chapter.

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Back at the hotel now, I am reflecting on the car ride here.  As we were driving from the camp at the Kumbha Mela, through the wild, crowded streets of Allahabad, to the hotel, I was feeling a lot of love for India and very grateful for all that she has given me.  And I also strongly felt myself beginning the return journey home.

The pilgrimage has ended.  Today was a great culmination of this and it is clear to me that I am now complete here.  I made it to the Maha Maha Kumbha Mela, which only happens once every 144 years…I bathed in the Sangam (where the Ganges, Yamuna, and Saraswati rivers converge) on one of the most auspicious days possible…I attended the inauguration for the new Maharishi Mahesh Yogi smarak…and for this very special occasion, I wore a sari for the very first time, something that I definitely wanted to do while I was here in India.  And with this, along with a million other things that have happened here, I am complete.  And now it’s time to go back to the U.S.

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There are two main priorities for me right now.  First is my health.  The time is NOW for me to sort out all these health issues that have been percolating here.  And the next is recording my music.  After all of this purification, austerity, and incredible time of deep reflection, I have never felt SO ready to get my music recorded and to share it with the world.  I feel that this will likely happen in Los Angeles because I have been having so many synchronicities and L.A. connections this entire past year, and SO, so many here in India.  We shall see…first things first…

First is the question of how I will be able to sort out my health issues.  My first step is that I will fly back to Delhi on Sunday.  From there, what I really want to do is fly to Bangkok before I fly back to the States.  I have heard nothing but the most AMAZING things about the health care and dental care in Bangkok and feel very strongly that the key to my healing lies there.

I really need to see a HIGHLY skilled dentist and take care of all these dental issues.  And also I must (as soon as possible!) find out what’s going on with this awful rash on my belly.  One person looked at it and said “parasite” and another person said “staff infection.”  And now I also have a rash on my back and also my nose, so the sooner I can see a doctor, the better.

Financially I’m not sure how any of this will be possible, but somehow it WILL.  I deserve to receive the healing and care that I need, and so somehow Nature will work this out for me and I will be WELL taken care of.

It’s been a long, crazy, wild adventure here in India, but over and over again I reminded myself that India is known as “karma bumi.”  It’s the best place on the planet to burn one’s karma most quickly, so this gives a meaningful framework for everything that I have gone through here.

After telling my friend Ram about everything I’m going through right now, I asked him, “It’s all part of the purification though, right?”  “Yes, of course,” he responded with such sweetness and love.  I have SUCH love for the Indian people…their generosity of heart and unwavering optimism and joy have deeply affected me and I pray that one day I will be able to somehow serve this great nation in an extremely meaningful way.

The depth of the riches here is truly unfathomable.  I was speaking with my friend Asher yesterday at the inauguration and he spoke of this richness so beautifully.  “How’s India?” I asked him.  “Heaven,” he responded in his beautiful Australian accent.  As he said this, his face was lit up with a huge smile and a look of awe and deep reverence, eyes full of bliss as he gazed into the distance.  He said that he feels that in every place there are layers, from the most physical/material down to the more and more subtle/spiritual layers.  “In all places, there are layers,” he said, palm facing the ground and moving down to illustrate this description.  “Here in India, there’s no bottom,” he smiled, face beaming with such deep appreciation and joy.

I definitely FEEL the truth in this.  I have definitely experienced some of this incredible richness of this magical land, although I have only BEGUN to travel down through the layers that exist here.  And I cannot even begin to put into words how all of this has affected me, transformed me, purified and humbled me.

Amma says, “To become humble is the very goal of spiritual life.  Humility alone is the way to God.  The beauty of spirituality lies in humility.”

She also says that we should be like a blade of grass…humble.  “A cyclone will uproot huge trees and houses but it cannot touch the grass,” she says.  “This is the greatness of humility.”

Never in my life have I felt more humble….more in awe of this great big huge creation and the stunning contrast that lies within…more amazed and utterly dumbfounded by the immensity of the spectrum of its infinite layers, cycles, patterns, beings, intelligence…and its perfection.

All of this can never be captured.  It can never be described.  We can point our finger toward the Mystery and feel gratitude and awe for the greatness of this opportunity to be a part of it.  We can pray for strength, guidance, and purity of heart.  We can do spiritual practices that best support and facilitate our growth and evolution.  We can get down on our knees and thank the heavens for it all, for every single thing.  Even when it’s painful.  Even when nothing seems to make sense.  Even when we feel lost and all alone in a big, strange universe.

As I type these words, tears of gratitude are washing my face because despite all the hardships that I have gone through here, I know that the blessings that I have received are infinitely greater than I can even begin to comprehend.  And I am humbled by the vast abundance and generosity of this great universe in which we live and by the infinite wisdom here.

If you are reading this, it means that you have helped to make this journey possible for me.  And I love you and I am more grateful for you than I could possibly express in words.  So all I can say is “THANK YOU SO MUCH!” for being with me on this journey.  I will continue to update you as things move along home and as my health is restored to fullness, to a new level of health and vitality even beyond what I have known up until this point.

I pray that your journey may be deeply blessed, and that may you fully realize the divinity within you, the love that you ARE.

All love and blessings to you.  May you always feel loved, held, supported, and cared for in each and every moment.  And may God bless you and keep you always.

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Musical Fulfillment

I am sitting at the airport in Delhi, SO happy to be typing these words on my MacBook, which my friend Lisa so generously carried to India with her from the States and delivered to me here in Delhi last night.

I’m en route to the Kumbha Mela.  And it’s not just the Kumbha Mela this year…it’s the Maha Maha Kumbha Mela, a most auspicious occasion which only takes place every 144 years.  I am feeling really blessed and really grateful to be on this pilgrimage, and also somewhat anxious about what awaits me there because it’s a HUGE convergence of human beings and Lord only knows how hectic it might be to be in amongst the masses.

Everything is changing every moment, and thank God my laptop is beneath my fingertips so that I can write it down.  Write the story.  What is the story that’s unfolding here?

Going back to November when I saw Amma in Detroit, I can begin to trace this storyline, to discern (to some extent) what is going on here.  When I saw Amma at the end of November, I handed her a small white piece of paper.  It said, “Dear Mother, please remove all vasanas that are blocking my music and my abundance.  Thank you.  Love, Erin”  The next thing I knew, I was in India.  It was literally a whirlwind of Nature support and suddenly I was flying across the world for my first meeting with the Eastern Hemisphere.

Since I have been in India these past six weeks I have had some of the most amazingly magical, synchronistic, and blessed spiritual experiences of my life.  AND I have been in many extremely challenging situations and experienced a lot of really intense emotions, a lot of crying and feeling lost and afraid, alone in a big, strange universe.

One very notable experience that I had with Neem Karoli Baba in Vrindavan recently seems to have catalyzed the most recent series of events, which leads me to where I now sit, on an airplane on my way to Allahabad to attend the Maha Maha Kumbha Mela which is in full swing there.  Over 100 million people are expected to attend this year, and I am amazed that I am going to be one of them.  I have been told by quite a few Indians that I should consider myself extremely blessed, that even many Indians are never able to make it to the Kumbha Mela.  I bought a sari from a man last night who looked me in the eye and told me just how very, very lucky I am, that he is 46, has lived in India all his life, and has not yet made it to “the Kumbh.”

A couple of weeks ago, I was at the Neem Karoli Baba ashram in Vrindavan, sitting next to the bed where he used to sit with his devotees.  This bed holds SUCH incredible spiritual energy, and at one point I placed my forehead on the bed, directly on the very blanket that he himself had once used, and I could feel the energy move all throughout my body like electricity, blessing every ounce of my being.  I sat there meditating, feeling so unbelievably blessed to be in such an amazing energy field, so full of his divine presence.  The feeling was one of DEEP, warm, nourishing, fatherly love…extremely playful and full of joy… similar in some ways (I imagine) to how it must have felt to sit in his presence while he was in the body.

Suddenly I could see him VERY clearly.  I became a clump of wet sand in his hand, and slowly and lovingly he massaged the sand with his fingers, breaking apart the clump so that the pieces of individual sand could lie on the earth and dry.  And as this vision was taking place, I could FEEL in my body the experience of what was happening.   As he was working on me in this absolutely incredible way, I could feel myself deeply relax…I could feel myself just surrender into the space around me, to feel more at ease than I had felt in a very long time.  My perception shifted to become more aligned with Nature, and through all of this I began to taste this amazing and absolutely delicious simplicity.  All was well within me and within the universe, and I felt deeply at peace.

I asked him for guidance about how to best share my music with the world, and he smiled at me, looking happy and pleased with me…and also there was this sense that yes, I am doing well, always doing my best, following my intuition, and yet there was a possibility for me to step it up in a way, to ignite more of a fire to fuel my musical journey in a more powerful way.   Suddenly I was rolled up like a ball and he kicked me like a soccer ball…far, far, faaaar through the air I sailed, feeling the profound blessing of this darshan booster rocket blast of fire and energy that he had given me.  “A kick start,” I later wrote in my journey, smiling at the play on words.

Erin Head on Bed Neem Karoli

 

 

 

 

 

A few days later, I was out walking around Vrindavan and saw a billboard for a luxury housing development called the Hare Krishna Orchid.  I felt a strong impulse to check it out, so I followed the arrow on the sign.  I walked and walked down this long, curious, dusty road all the way to the end.   I decided that I would pretend that I was interested in purchasing a flat there so that I would have some purpose for my visit.  I walked through the security gate and into the main office where I sat down at the desk and began speaking with the marketing manager who told me that his name was Raj.  He took one look at me and said that he needed to put all business aside for a moment and tell me that I must be very, very careful here in India, that I shouldn’t trust just anyone because there are cheaters here who might not have good intentions.  He said that he could tell that I was a very honest person and he was concerned that I might be taken advantage of because I’m so open-hearted and trusting.

Erin and Raj Hare Krishna Orchid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raj and I talked for quite awhile, and just before I left I handed him my business card.  He was very interested to learn about my Medicine Songs, the healing work that I do with my music, and wanted to schedule a session with me for the following day.  So the next day I gave him a session and he really, really enjoyed it.  He told me how powerful my voice is and was deeply moved by the experience that he had had while I was singing.

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He told me that I have goodness and honesty written all over my face, telling me over and over, “You’re a good one!”  He also said to me at one point during the conversation,  “People like you should be messengers for your country.”  He was sharing with me that many people do not think very highly of the United States, so it’s good for people to meet ambassadors like me who can show them that actually there are many good people in the U.S. and thereby help to shift the negative stereotype.

All the while, the Russian women who live with him had been cooking dinner and he invited me to stay and eat with them, but I said that I’d rather return another night so that I could bring my friend Daniel with me to meet everyone, which we did the very next night.

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So, like this, Daniel and I have become quite close with Raj and he has taken quite an interest in helping us to find what we need here in India.  Daniel, having recently decided to stay in India rather than return to the U.S. as he had planned to do, is looking for a music teacher.  And I am looking for a recording studio and musicians to work with.  For the past year or more, I have felt really, really ready to just get in the studio and record.

Because of the very unique nature of my particular creative process (unlimited spontaneous improvisational devotional singing), it has taken me awhile to discern how I can best share this music with the world.  And at this point, I feel most inspired to be in a recording studio and sing and sing and sing and record it and work with a top level producer and engineer to create an album.  And maybe some of this spontaneous flow will be turned into more structured songs with choruses and verses, etc, or maybe not.  We shall see.  I was really excited when I recently learned that actually, the Beatles wrote many of their songs in the studio like this.

Over the course of a few evenings at Raj’s home for dinner, Daniel and I shared our dreams and goals with him.  And he told us again and again that he really feels strongly that we were brought to him so that he can help us to fulfill our dreams and to make sure that we have everything we need while we’re here in India.  He said to ask him for anything and everything we need at any point while we are here, even money.  “Money is your BEST friend when you are traveling,” he said, a statement which certainly has some truth to it.  So clearly something very cosmic and very blessed had begun to unfold, and we were all really enjoying each other’s company and all that we were discovering together.

Daniel told Raj that he dreamed of meeting Debu Chaudhuri, one of the most well known and loved musicians alive today in India, and Raj was SO excited to hear this.  Raj’s brother (well, really his cousin, but the word cousin and brother are somewhat synonymous here in India at times) Neel is one of Debu Chaudhuri’s main disciples, and so meeting with Debu was absolutely possible, and Raj set about making the arrangements for a meeting with him at his home in Delhi.

In the meantime, I had begun to notice that the enamel on some of my front teeth seemed to have literally disappeared overnight, and there were some other concerning things going on with my teeth as well.   And so begun an extremely emotional experience of feeling overwhelmed and anxious about what was going on with my teeth, not sure about where to get help, and on and on…and so this was the experience that was running parallel while all of this cosmic alignment of musical connections was also happening.

Daniel said he thought it was the bacteria here in India that was harming my teeth, so I began to do what I could to prevent any further damage.  I began doing coconut oil pulls every morning and evening, using tea tree oil (which has very strong antibacterial properties), and brushing my teeth after every meal.

During this time I also had my first experience playing the “nada vina” which is a more traditional way of saying “tambura.”  My friend Rob Cox kept telling me that he REALLY felt like I would love playing it.  He has a deep appreciation for the way I sing, allowing my heart to express itself in an uninhibited way, and so he felt like this would be a great way to accompany myself.  He learned to sing from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi himself, so to have this validation of the way that I express myself musically was another big blessing on my path.

Then the time came for us to travel to Delhi with Raj.  He borrowed his friend’s car and hired a driver, and off we went on our first road trip with our new friend.  We first stopped at his brother Neel’s place and Daniel and I each told him a bit about what we are looking for musically.  I told him about my creative process of spontaneous/intuitive/improvisational singing and of my desire to record an album.  He asked me to sing for him, which I did, and he said that he definitely wanted to help me get an album recorded.  He said that he has access to a very nice studio, and is also connected with some of the top musicians in India, musicians who play with people like Debu Chaudhuri, etc.  He said that I could basically have any instrumentation that I wanted…guitar, bass, any kind of drums, keys, etc, and that he would look into the cost for recording and let me know what he found out.

Next, we piled back into the car and traveled to Debu Chaudhuri’s house and had an absolutely amazing meeting with him.  I sang for him, and he said that I have a “very good voice.”  Daniel sang for him as well and he gave us the contact information for a few people in Calcutta who he said would be able to help us.  He said to just tell them that Debu Chaudhuri had sent us to them.  Amazing!

He asked us quite a few questions and shared his wisdom with us, instructing us, “Be positive and firm about what you want.”  We told him that we had come India to be with Amma and he expressed his deep appreciation for her and said that he always goes to see her when she comes to Delhi and has played at some of her programs.

And then, after about 45 minutes in his presence, it was dinnertime so time for us to move along.  We took some photos, and I touched his feet (as is custom here in India to receive the blessings from a master or guru) before we left.  All of this was a HUGE boon on my musical path.  To have the blessings of a master like him is an incredible blessing.  He is so masterful and well-respected that he was the recipient of the Padma Bhushan award, one of the highest civilian awards given by the Indian government.

When we walked outside, Neel told us that Debu had taken him aside afterwards and instructed him to look after us.  Neel also said that usually these kinds of meetings with Debu are much more formal, and that it had been very clear that he had really taken a personal interest in us because some of the questions that he had asked us were quite personal, like when he asked us how we are financing our journey here in India.

Erin and Debu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then Neel and Raj shared with us a bit more about their heritage and their family history (of which Debu Chaudhuri is a part), which brought even more light to the whole cosmic convergence that was happening.  Their family was literally Bengali royalty, kings and queens in the magical land of Bengal, before the British came in and turned everything upside down.  And the richness of this royal Bengali family was the CULTURE, the MUSIC, the ARTS…and Raj told us, tears streaming down his face, that he just feels SO deeply blessed to be able to help us right now because he sees that same richness in Daniel and me.

It was really QUITE a magical moment in time, standing outside Debu Chauduri’s house in the cool, clear Delhi night air.  It all felt SO massively blessed, as if YES, FINALLY my music career is taking flight.  This is it!!!  I am in the right place and the timing is right and it must REALLY finally be happening for me now!!!

Outside Debu's House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The car delivered us to the house where our friend David was waiting for us.  He had just flown to India the day before and the plan was that we’d spend a couple of nights together in Delhi before flying to the Kumbha Mela on February 8th.  When we saw David, we recounted the day’s events, the magical tale that we were in AWE to be living, and David was really amazed.  He is the one drove us from snowy cold Fairfield to the Moline Airport back on December 29th and has been following our journey quite closely ever since.  And he was delighted by this new development in the storyline, also deeply appreciating the blessing of all of this.

That night I became extremely ill.  My stomach was sick, I had a massive fever, and my whole body ached.  On top of this, I was experiencing excruciating pain all throughout my upper back.  The pain was so intense that I could hardly move, and I could hardly sleep because one minute I was shivering and the next minute I was sweating.  All day the following day I stayed in bed, feeling absolutely awful, and so by evening I decided that I would not be getting on an airplane to the Kumbha Mela the next morning.

Daniel, David, and I all left in the same car that next morning.  They were headed to the airport and on the way I got into another car which would take me to the Maharishi Ayurveda Hospital to rest and recuperate.  In the car, I was telling Daniel that even though everything seemed to be working out for me musically here in India, part of me just wants to go home!!!  Home is a relative term for me at this point though because all my possessions are in storage at a friend’s house in Fairfield.  And so really the closest thing I have to a home is my mom’s house in Wisconsin, but as much as I love visiting my mom there, I definitely don’t want to live there.

But still, part of me wants to go back to the States where I don’t get sick all the time like I do in India, where I can go to a dentist that I know and trust, where I can return to some normalcy of some kind.  (The idea of normalcy in my life is really just a fantasy though.  I can’t remember the last time my life felt “normal” no matter where I have been.)  What I keep saying though is that wherever I am meant to be to be able to REALLY do my music, THAT is where I want to be.  I want to do whatever I can to be most fully in service to my music.

So, hearing all of this, Daniel was really encouraging me to get really clear about what I want, like Debu Chaudhuri had said.  Do I want to record in Delhi with Neel and his friends?  Is this the right album to put out as my very FIRST album?  Or do I want to wait until a plan manifests for me to go back to the States and record music in L.A.?  (L.A. has been coming up consistently for the past year, and there have been countless signs that when I return from India I may spend some time in Fairfield and Wisconsin and then move to L.A. for my music.)  He encouraged me to spend some time really asking myself “What is it that I really, REALLY WANT?”

So I spent a few days at the hospital and went through a pretty rough time there.  I discovered a bright red rash on my belly and also some dark brown cavity-looking spots on some of my back molars near the gums and was just absolutely SO overwhelmed and feeling SO confused about what to do.  I started asking around to find out if anyone knew of a REALLY good dentist in Delhi, and I was just hearing all kinds of horror stories, which sent me further into overwhelm.  I felt like I couldn’t hear my inner guidance (Amma) at ALL, and was just crying and crying and crying so much, feeling absolutely confused and LOST.  I was wondering if Nature was trying to show me that I am on the wrong track, that I am doing something wrong, and so experiencing all this disharmony.  Maybe it was time to leave India and return to the States.  Or maybe this is just all purification, karma burning, etc, something to go THROUGH, rather than a sign that I needed to leave India.

One day, after a couple of days of this, I took a long walk, singing the words “Turn this sorrow into love,” over and over and over again at the top of my lungs.  My voice was doing some amazing things that I have never heard it do before and it felt quite liberating not to be concerned about what anyone thought of me right then.  I needed to SING, and so I was SINGING.  And afterwards I definitely noticed that something had shifted, although I still felt pretty sad and unsure about what to do.

The next day I took another walk, this time singing, “Mother help me surrender to your love,” over and over.  And then I walked to this lovely park full of gorgeous green life next to the hospital, intentionally circumambulating it three times, praying and praying for guidance from Amma.  And finally some clarity began to come.  I was even getting some guidance about my actual itinerary!  It seemed pretty clear that she was telling me that I’ll be leaving India on March 15th, arriving back in the States on March 17th.  It seemed clear that I was to go to the Kumbha Mela, then Rishikesh, then back to Delhi, then to Bangkok from February 25th to March 4th to get my dental situation sorted out, then back to Delhi to record my album, and then back to the States.  It seems like some really amazing structure is going to be created for me when I’m back in the States (probably in L.A. and maybe doing some work related to the music industry) so that I have a way to earn a good living, support myself, have my own space, etc.  And I felt so happy and grateful for the clarity.

The next day, I saw Dr. Raju.  He is one of the most well respected and adored Ayurvedic physicians in all the world, and I have heard miracle story after miracle story from people who he has helped through the years.  I told him about everything that was going on….my digestion was not doing well, I had a rash around my belly button, my teeth were really suffering, and I was feeling lost and confused.  He felt my pulse and said that everything I am experiencing is because I am having digestive problems.  He prescribed some herbs for me and said that even after seven days of taking the herbs, I will feel a huge difference, and that even my teeth can heal by following this protocol.

That night, I sat down to meditate and immediately had this VERY strong vision of Amma.  I saw her plop down on the bed right in front of me, quite casually, as if she were my sister or best friend or something.  And she was REALLY light-hearted and giggly and happy and just GLOWING with happiness.  The message was really clear that she was quite pleased with me.  She had put me through this really tough experience and was pleased that throughout it all, I had never stopped crying out to her for help…I had continued and continued to reach out to her for guidance, even when I couldn’t hear anything from her for days.  And the sense was that she created this entire experience in order to strengthen my trust, to deepen my faith in her, to cultivate even more divine longing in me, and to remind me in a clear way that she is ALWAYS with me, even when I can’t hear her.  She told me that I am to trust Dr. Raju, take the herbs, and she is going to protect my teeth until I can get to Bangkok for treatment in a couple of weeks.

I know this story is crazy long and if you have stuck with me this long, wow, thank you…this is just pouring out of me, so this story must want to be shared.

So then YESTERDAY was a really blessed day and everything was really flowing and coming together for me.  I was feeling extremely clear and it just seemed like I was living one big huge long miracle all day.  I woke up to a few different emails with contact info for dental clinics in Bangkok, and when I shared this with the guy sitting at the computer next to me, he handed me a card from a clinic in Bangkok where he has had really good experiences.  I bought a new plane ticket to the Kumbha Mela and the arrangements for accommodation fell into place and just one thing after another was coming together.  I was also emailing back and forth with my friend Yahyah who will be traveling to Thailand at the end of the month to meet his mother for the first time!  And our friend Antwan will be with him as well.  These are two of my very favorite brothers, two of my very favorite people in the entire universe to sing with.  Nature seemed to be organizing everything and it all felt completely effortless.  AND, I even got my MacBook delivered to me from the States last night!

When I spoke with Daniel (who was in Varanasi) last night I told him about everything that had happened and he thought it all sounded really great.  He gently asked, “Is the money there yet?” and I laughed a little and responded, “No, not yet.”  “That’s okay, that’s okay,” he reassured me.  “The money is coming.”  We were still planning to meet up at the Kumbha Mela and to travel to Rishikesh with David as planned.

Then I called Daniel TODAY from the airport just before I boarded this plane that I am currently on, flying to Allahabad, and he told me that there has actually been ANOTHER new development in the plan.  He has decided that actually (instead of going to Rishikesh) he needs to go to BANGKOK on the 16th to be with our friend Anaghan who is traveling there soon to have heart surgery.  So we are canceling our flights to Rishikesh, and that’s what he’s doing, and now I’m again unsure about what I’m doing.

Good LORD, what is going ON here???  Why is everything always changing SO much all the time and why does there seem to be SO little clarity?  Am I just burning SO much karma right now and that’s why I’m experiencing everything that I’m experiencing right now, or WHAT?

So even though that threw me off again, and I’m still a bit thrown off, I’m feeling okay.  Because what else can I do but trust that Nature knows EXACTLY what she’s doing?  What else can I do but just keep flowing with everything that’s happening right now?

The plane just landed on the runway in Allahabad, quite a ROUGH landing, actually (perhaps symbolic of something), and now we’re taxiing toward the airport.

So I am wondering many things at this juncture.  Am I to travel with Daniel to Bangkok on the 16th?  And if so, how will I pay for the plane ticket, the accommodations, and the dental treatment that I need?  With all these ever-changing plans, how will I even know when I can safely book my return flight to the States?  Am I going to record some music here in India, or will that have to wait until sometime after returning to the States?

It’s time to get off the plane, so I will end with a short, simple prayer, and will update you when I can as more becomes clear.  Thank you for your continual love and prayers.  They truly mean the WORLD to me.

Please God, show me the way.  Guide my path.  Light the way.

I love you and I want to serve you in every way I can.  Please show me how.

Thank you, I love you.

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